Food hygiene law and regulatory framework for artisan and small scale producers. Registration, approval, HACCP, products of animal origin, unhygienic food.

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill currently before Parliament is due to have its report stage and third reading on a date yet to be announced.

The Bill will impose a sunset clause on retained EU law with the effect that it will cease to exist after 31 December 2023. If this is not to happen domestic legislation will need to be put in place, but the scale of this task, there are at least 2,417 pieces of retained EU law, in the time available makes this exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

It has been striking to note the rise in recent months of the number of dairy farmers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are turning to the direct sale of raw drinking milk. Mostly, it seems, by means of on-farm raw milk vending machines. In March this year there was a total of 114 producers of raw drinking milk registered with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a figure which has now risen to 158, an increase of almost 39% in a little over six months.

Call by your local farmers’ market and you will likely be greeted by an array of delicious and tempting produce, beautifully and simply presented. The picture painted of simple, good and wholesome real food belies the reality of an ever-growing body of complicated and expensive regulatory control with which small scale food producers must contend. What appears straightforward and simple on the surface, often seems more like a bureaucratic nightmare.

Do EU hygiene rules unduly constrain artisan food producers in the quality and range of food they are able to make? Artisan Food Law is working with Slow Food International on a study across Europe into this critical issue. The first stage will focus on artisan cheese and dairy production and we will be using the opportunity presented by Slow Cheese in Bra, Italy next month to further our research.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) publishes four food law codes of practice which are for use by the food authorities in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. These are statutory codes of practice which, in England, is issued under section 40 of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

On 31 March the Food Standards Agency (FSA) hosted an open meeting for anyone interested in the future of raw drinking milk. The FSA has been reviewing the regulations on raw milk for the last two years and this meeting was a part of the public consultation which runs until 30 April.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced the public consultation stage following a policy review of sales of raw drinking milk. The consultation pack which accompanied the announcement last Thursday, 30 January, extends to 191 pages[1] of detailed information and sets out four options for the future. The good news is that the FSA has expressed a preference for continuing raw milk sales under the fourth of the following four options:

When serving food in a community setting confusion often arises when considering the extent to which domestic and EU food law applies and so must be followed. Do I need to register as a food business operator? Do the food hygiene rules have to be met in full? If not, what are my obligations? The questions go on … and on. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has made a brave attempt to answer some of these questions in recently published new guidance: Community and Charity Food Provision – Guidance on the Application of EU Food Hygiene Law.